Journeyman's Row
         Discovering tomorrow's future starts by discussing yesterday & today.
***  October 11, 2016  -  June 30, 2021  ***

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Posted on March 12, 2017 at 12:05 AM

Thankfully, no more colds to speak of and I have already been able to finish the third short story, "... And Back Again". Just before I wrapped it up, thanks to several inspirations I was able to create a fourth story concept that will involve several factors I've wanted to portray in general. Allow me to share some interesting information about this latest story with all of you, but without spoiling it before the final work is published.


The story is appropriately entitled, "Legs of an Angel"©.


A US combat veteran in his late twenties struggles to deal with PTSD and life after being permanently paralyzed below the waist during an attack on his unit. In an effort to remain strong, Skobee Keynes (no I did not come up with the first name from Scooby Doo) has decided to actively promote health and wellness awareness through public speaking and classes, but it has not been easy to adjust. Before his injury Skobee excelled with the help of military training and had become a decorated hero on the ground to his fellow troops and civilians. This gave him a confident sense of purpose that inspired him on the front lines.


Now, Skobee finds himself at war with his physical and mental health in ways he never imagined, while trying desperately to regain a purpose in life. Fairly frequent flashbacks haunt his attempts to recover from the trauma that has scarred him. Nearly being killed in combat, seeing several of his troops lose their lives just out of arm's reach in front of him, suffering the injury that crippled his ability to be the hero he had always strived to be, and trying to adjust to life afterwards made the physical and mental strain challenging to handle sometimes on a daily basis. What few family members he has and close friends have done their absolute best to support him, but Skobee is still slowly taking on water.


The story continues with Skobee thinking back over the last three days as he sits in his wheelchair, silently staring out of one of his third floor apartment's living room windows. What he recalls having taken place has thrown his delicate life out of balance, and threatens to bring him down for good. Suddenly, he is faced with a perilous trial by fire which will test his faith and force him to confront his will to live. What Skobee does, and the most unlikely young hero who comes to his aid, could change Skobee's outlook on life forever.


This story concept first and foremost is inspired by a best friend of mine and his girlfriend, whom both have served in the US military with dedication, distinction, and honor. Their sacrifices and service has for a long time been something I have really wanted to express my appreciation and respect for in general, of past, present, and future US servicemen and women. Our country would not be what it is or where it is, neither would our freedoms still exist, if not for generations of blood, sweat, and tears from our military's Army, Air Force, Navy, Army and Air National Guards, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Reserves.


What's heartbreaking have been the struggles particularly faced in modern times from physical and mental health concerns, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical disabilities. My desire to positively portray these elements with an inspiring conclusion culminated about a week ago, after I had gone to see the film "Logan". Also known as Wolverine, for years I have idolized how emotionally intense this character has been portrayed on the big screen, and in the current film his relentless desire to help others resonated with the theme of writing about military service. I thought of the title afterwards on opening night, when I went to see it, because angels are often referred to by their wings, their halo, their divinity, but I wanted something no one has really used before. Writing about a character who will come to embody a different part of a person and an angel, through symbolizing Skobee's paralyzed legs, gave way to the entire story taking shape just a couple days later.


Despite being sick for an entire week in mid-February, I have found it more difficult than I'd hoped to write these stories because of the tense anxiety in my life right now. I have been holding off on some career research and opportunities because I really want to publish "Just Before the Dawn"© not just for profit to continue my advocacy, but to share these inspiring stories sooner not later. Though, I have not yet decided whether I will just write five by April 20th, the date of the "Find Your Voice" central Pennsylvania conference, or otherwise. So for anyone who is closely following along with my progress and wondering when I will return to content blogging for my next run, if not by the end of April I will surely resume in May. Like I said, I really want to finish a total of at least six short stories so that I have a minimum of one hundred total pages for the final composition.


What else do I have to share with the content blogging? Plenty, trust me. More focusing on suicide topics, advocating in several blog posts for PTSD and military personnel who have suffered from mental illness, as well as the final plunge into my past to talk about the major experiences with mental illness such as my weak overdose attempt in 2003. For the first one hundred twenty eight days I took my time to cover a lot of different topics and doing my best to persuade as many people to invest in my advocacy as I could. This deepest layer of detail about my past and present experiences will shed the most light on the topics I've already introduced, and accomplishing this will conclude focusing on my experiences.


By mid-summer and this fall I expect to be done with the short story writing, by then have found some form of employment in the mental health field or otherwise, to have finished the in-depth discussions of my past experiences with mental illness, and to see from here on how I can continue to promote my advocacy website to more and more people. At the April 20th conference I intend to spread the word about my blogging efforts as I expect to shoulder more responsibility for the otherwise sensitive details about my life that I have already shared. I am ready and I have been ready to speak out on behalf of everyone involved with mental illness. Continuing to challenge myself to take on more responsibility will only continue from here.


So, once again I want to thank everyone for their support and for taking time out of your busy lives to read what I have shared here and intend to continue sharing. Remember, the journey is not over. It has only just begun. Tune in on the 26th when I post my next update. Hopefully by then I will be nearly finished with "Legs of an Angel"©.

Categories: Inspirational, "Just Before the Dawn"©

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